Can a Subaru Forester Tow a Camper – How to Install in 8 Steps

Can a Subaru Forester tow a camper?” you ask. Absolutely! Not only does your Forester boast impressive on and off-road performance, but it’s also capable of towing your beloved camper.

An Article About If a Subaru Forester Can Tow a Camper

Let us journey through an empowering, step-by-step guide that will transform your Subaru Forester into a reliable, adventure-ready towing machine, all in just eight straightforward steps.

Can a Subaru Forester Tow a Camper

Yes, a Subaru Forester can tow a camper. Its maximum towing capacity is generally around 1,500 pounds, making it suitable for smaller trailers and campers.

To do so, you need to follow some steps, such as assessing the towing capacity, installing a hitch, etc.

1. Assess the Towing Capacity of Your Subaru Forester

Understanding your Subaru Forester’s towing capacity is of paramount importance when considering whether to tow a camper. Not all vehicles are created equal, and that is especially true when it comes to towing capacity.

Every vehicle, including your Subaru Forester, has a specified maximum towing capacity that denotes the heaviest load it can safely pull.

To find your Forester’s towing capacity, check your vehicle’s user manual. This manual is tailored to your specific model and year and will provide you with the most accurate information. Typically, a Subaru Forester can tow up to 1,500 pounds, but this can vary depending on the model and year.

Another place to check is the label inside the driver’s door jamb, which often contains this information. Consider the total weight of the camper you plan to tow. This includes the weight of the trailer itself plus any items inside, such as luggage, water tanks, or appliances.

This is referred to as the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW). It is crucial not to exceed your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity with your camper’s GTW. Doing so could cause severe damage to your car, decrease fuel efficiency, or even create dangerous driving conditions.

2. Gather Necessary Tools for Trailer Hitch Installation

The journey to successful trailer hitch installation begins with gathering the appropriate tools. Without the correct tools, the process can be more challenging, take longer, and potentially damage your Subaru Forester or the trailer hitch.

Trailer Hitch From a Closer Look

Firstly, you’ll require a set of wrenches and sockets. The sizes you need depend on the specifications of the hitch and your vehicle, but commonly used sizes include 17mm, 19mm, and 3/4″.

A torque wrench is another vital tool. This wrench allows you to tighten the bolts to a specific level of tightness, measured in foot pounds or Newton meters, as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

You’ll also need a jack and jack stands. These tools allow you to lift and secure your Subaru Forester, providing access to the underside of the vehicle. Make sure these tools are rated to support your vehicle’s weight.

Some hitch installations may require additional tools like a pry bar to assist with positioning the hitch or a drill and metal cutting bits if additional holes need to be made.

Always refer to the specific hitch installation instructions to ensure you have all the necessary tools. Being well-prepared with the right tools sets the stage for a smooth and successful trailer hitch installation.

3. Remove the Exhaust and Underbody Panel

Exposing the vehicle’s frame to install the hitch requires removing the exhaust and underbody panel on your Subaru Forester. Safety should be your top priority during this process. Ensure your vehicle is secure on jack stands and the engine is cool to avoid potential burns.

Underbody Panel of A Car

Starting with the underbody panel, locate the attachment points, often screws or clips, holding it in place. Utilize a screwdriver or clip removal tool to detach these points carefully, preventing any damage to the pins or the panel itself.

The exhaust system removal follows a similar procedure but requires additional care due to its weight. Supporting the exhaust while you remove it is crucial. Rope, bungee cords, or a mechanic’s wire can be used to hold the exhaust up and prevent it from falling when the hangers are released.

Locate the exhaust hangers – these rubber mounts keep the exhaust suspended under your vehicle. Using a lubricant like WD-40 can ease the process of sliding the hangers off the rods.

Make sure to safely store the exhaust system and underbody panel where they won’t be stepped on or otherwise damaged. Remember to keep all screws or clips for reinstallation later.

4. Prepare Vehicle Attachment Points

Properly preparing the vehicle attachment points ensures a secure fit for your trailer hitch and minimizes potential issues down the line. The preparation process begins with locating these points on your Subaru Forester’s frame.

Back Of a Camper With Attachment Point

Once located, the points should be thoroughly cleaned. Any built-up dirt or rust can prevent a proper seal between the hitch and the vehicle. Wire brushes are helpful tools for scraping away any stubborn grime or corrosion.

Furthermore, it is highly recommended to administer a rust inhibitor or a comparable solution to the connecting areas. Doing so will provide an additional safeguard that effectively shields against potential rusting and corrosion, thereby significantly enhancing the durability and lifespan of both your trailer hitch and your vehicle.

This preventative measure not only safeguards the attachment points but also fortifies the overall structural integrity of the hitch, ensuring optimal performance and preserving the aesthetic appeal of your vehicle.

Applying a rust inhibitor or a similar protective product serves as a barrier against moisture and environmental elements.

Inspect the bolt holes at these points, ensuring they are clear of debris. An obstructed bolt hole can make installation difficult or lead to cross-threading, which damages the bolt and the hole. While preparing the vehicle attachment points may seem like a minor task, it is essential to safely and securely install your trailer hitch.

5. Install the Hitch Hardware

With your Subaru Forester’s attachment points prepared and ready, it’s time to install the hitch hardware. Ensuring that all the bolts, nuts, and washers provided in your hitch kit are accounted for is paramount. Before installation, align these components according to the diagram or instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Hitch Hardware Of a Camper

Each hitch is unique and designed to fit a specific vehicle model, so be sure the hitch you have is meant for a Subaru Forester. Place each bolt, washer, and nut in the corresponding holes. It’s often recommended to leave everything hand-tight for now; this way, you’ll have some wiggle room to align the hitch properly in the next step.

Some hitch kits come with a fish wire tool, a nifty device that helps guide bolts into difficult-to-reach places. To use it, thread the bolt onto the fish wire, push the wire through the hole, and pull it out at the other end, guiding the bolt into place.

Remember that patience is key in this process. This step might appear straightforward, but it could potentially take some time to align everything correctly. Keeping a cool head will ensure a smooth and successful installation.

6. Raise the Hitch into Place and Secure

Now that the hardware is loosely installed raising the hitch into place is time. It’s crucial to be cautious during this step, as trailer hitches can be quite heavy. Having an extra pair of hands or using a hydraulic jack can be incredibly helpful to support the weight.

With the hitch aligned to the bolts installed in the previous step, ensure that each bolt passes through the corresponding hole in the hitch. It might need some slight adjustments to fit perfectly.

Once in place, hand-tighten the nuts onto the bolts. This will secure the hitch and prevent it from shifting while you move on to the next stage.

Remember, while it’s important to secure the hitch, avoid fully tightening the bolts at this stage. Final tightening and torquing will come in the next step to ensure that the hitch is installed with maximum safety and efficiency. It’s all about steady progress, and you’re almost there!

7. Tighten and Torque the Hitch

The penultimate step involves ensuring the hitch is securely attached to your Subaru Forester. This step requires precision and care. Proper tightening and torquing are critical for the safety and performance of your hitch.

Hitch Jack Of a Black Camper

Start by wrenching the nuts onto the bolts until they are snug but not completely tight. Make sure to tighten them in a crisscross pattern; this ensures even distribution of the hitch’s load.

Now comes the crucial task of torquing. Torquing is applying a specific amount of force to ensure the bolts and nuts are tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Using a torque wrench, apply the specific torque value as stated in the hitch installation guide. The click from a torque wrench indicates that the desired torque level has been reached.

Applying the correct torque ensures the hitch is neither too loose (which could lead to the hitch becoming detached) nor too tight (which could cause bolt and nut failure due to excessive strain). The torque wrench is your best friend here, ensuring you reach your trailer hitch’s safe and secure fitment.

8. Reinstall the Exhaust and Underbody Panel

With the hitch securely installed, the final step is to reinstall the exhaust and underbody panel. Remember to handle these components with care to avoid damaging them. Beginning with the exhaust system, align it back into its original position. Make sure to reinstall it onto the same rubber mounts from which it was removed.

Applying a small amount of lubricant to the hangers can ease this process. The exhaust system should be stable and not rattle or sag. Next, reinstall the underbody panel, ensuring it aligns correctly with its original position. Return all screws or clips to their original places, securely fastening the panel to the vehicle.

Take a moment to inspect your work and ensure everything is back in its right place. Congratulations! With the reinstalling done, your Subaru Forester is now equipped with a sturdy hitch, ready for towing a camper or any compatible trailer.

Can I Tow a Camper with a Nissan Kicks?

Yes, you can tow a camper with a Nissan Kicks. However, it’s important to note that the Nissan Kicks is not typically equipped with towing capabilities. It is primarily designed for everyday urban driving. So, before attempting to tow a camper, consider the weight and size limitations of your vehicle. Remember, opening the trunk of Nissan Kicks won’t magically increase its towing capacity.

Can a Subaru Forester be Used to Tow a Stuck Truck Out of Mud?

When it comes to freeing stuck trucks, the Subaru Forester offers efficient solutions. With its robust towing capacity and advanced features, the Forester provides versatile methods for freeing stuck trucks from muddy situations. Its reliable performance and durable construction make it a reliable choice for tackling challenging off-road rescues.


So, can a Subaru Forester tow a camper? Definitely! To summarize the main ideas that we have discussed here:

  • A Subaru Forester can tow up to 1,500 pounds, suitable for small campers.
  • You need to gather the necessary tools for trailer hitch installation.
  • The vehicle requires preparation, such as removing the exhaust and underbody panel and cleaning the attachment points.
  • The hitch must be installed, raised, tightened, and torqued to specification.
  • Lastly, you should reinstall the exhaust and underbody panel and ensure all components are secure.

With the right trailer hitch properly installed, your Subaru Forester can comfortably tow your camper, allowing you to explore and create unforgettable adventures.

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